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List Of Contents | Contents of Their Pilgrimage, by Charles Dudley Warner
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glare of astonishment at the view.  This young girl, whom the careless
observer might pass without a second glance, was discovered on better
acquaintance to express in her face and the lines of her figure some
subtle intellectual quality not easily interpreted.  Marion Lamont, let
us say at once, was of Southern origin, born in London during the
temporary residence of her parents there, and while very young deprived
by death of her natural protectors.  She had a small, low voice, fine
hair of a light color, which contrasted with dark eyes, waved back from
her forehead, delicate, sensitive features--indeed, her face, especially
in conversation with any one, almost always had a wistful, appealing
look; in figure short and very slight, lithe and graceful, full of
unconscious artistic poses, fearless and sure-footed as a gazelle in
climbing about the rocks, leaping from stone to stone, and even making
her way up a tree that had convenient branches, if the whim took her,
using her hands and arms like a gymnast, and performing whatever feat of.
daring or dexterity as if the exquisitely molded form was all instinct
with her indomitable will, and obeyed it, and always with an air of
refinement and spirited breeding.  A child of nature in seeming, but yet
a woman who was not to be fathomed by a chance acquaintance.

The old man with the spectacles was presently overtaken by a stout,
elderly woman, who landed in the exhausted condition of a porpoise that
has come ashore, and stood regardless of everything but her own weight,
while member after member of the party straggled up.  No sooner did this
group espy the artist than they moved in his direction.  "There's a
painter."  "I wonder what he's painting."  "Maybe he'll paint us."
"Let's see what he's doing."  "I should like to see a man paint."  And
the crowd flowed on, getting in front of the sketcher, and creeping round
behind him for a peep over his shoulder.  The artist closed his sketch-
book and retreated, and the stout woman, balked of that prey, turned
round a moment to the view, exclaimed, "Ain't that elegant!" and then
waddled off to the hotel.

"I wonder," Mr. King was saying, "if these excursionists are
representative of general American life?"

"If they are," said the artist, "there's little here for my purpose.
A good many of them seem to be foreigners, or of foreign origin.  Just as
soon as these people get naturalized, they lose the picturesqueness they
had abroad."

"Did it never occur to your highness that they may prefer to be
comfortable rather than picturesque, and that they may be ignorant that
they were born for artistic purposes?" It was the low voice of Miss
Lamont, and that demure person looked up as if she really wanted
information.

"I doubt about the comfort," the artist began to reply.

"And so do I," said Miss Sumner.  "What on earth do you suppose made
those girls come up here in white dresses, blowing about in the wind,
and already drabbled?  Did you ever see such a lot of cheap millinery?
I haven't seen a woman yet with the least bit of style."

"Poor things, they look as if they'd never had a holiday before in their
lives, and didn't exactly know what to do with it," apologized Miss
Lamont.

"Don't you believe it.  They've been to more church and Sunday-school
picnics than you ever attended.  Look over there!"

It was a group seated about their lunch-baskets.  A young gentleman, the
comedian of the patty, the life of the church sociable, had put on the
hat of one of the girls, and was making himself so irresistibly funny in
it that all the girls tittered, and their mothers looked a little
shamefaced and pleased.

"Well," said Mr. King, "that's the only festive sign I've seen.
It's more like a funeral procession than a pleasure excursion.
What impresses me is the extreme gravity of these people--no fun, no
hilarity, no letting themselves loose for a good time, as they say.
Probably they like it, but they seem to have no capacity for enjoying
themselves; they have no vivacity, no gayety--what a contrast to a party
in France or Germany off for a day's pleasure--no devices, no resources."

"Yes, it's all sad, respectable, confoundedly uninteresting.  What does
the doctor say?" asked the artist.

"I know what the doctor will say," put in Miss Summer, "but I tell you
that what this crowd needs is missionary dressmakers and tailors.  If I
were dressed that way I should feel and act just as they do.  Well,
Selina?"

"It's pretty melancholy.  The trouble is constant grinding work and bad
food.  I've been studying these people.  The women are all--"

"Ugly," suggested the artist.

"Well, ill-favored, scrimped; that means ill-nurtured simply.  Out of the
three hundred there are not half a dozen well-conditioned, filled out
physically in comfortable proportions.  Most of the women look as if they
had been dragged out with indoor work and little intellectual life, but
the real cause of physical degeneration is bad cooking.  If they lived
more out-of-doors, as women do in Italy, the food might not make so much
difference, but in our climate it is the prime thing.  This poor physical
state accounts for the want of gayety and the lack of beauty.  The men,
on the whole, are better than the women, that is, the young men.  I don't
know as these people are overworked, as the world goes.  I dare say,
Nettie, there's not a girl in this crowd who could dance with you through
a season.  They need to be better fed, and to have more elevating
recreations-something to educate their taste."

"I've been educating the taste of one excursionist this morning, a good-
faced workman, who was prying about everywhere with a curious air, and
said he never'd been on an excursion before.  He came up to me in the
office, deferentially asked me if I would go into the parlor with him,
and, pointing to something hanging on the wall, asked, 'What is that?'
'That,' I said, 'is a view from Sunset Rock, and a very good one.' 'Yes,'
he continued, walking close up to it, 'but what is it?'  'Why, it's a
painting.'  'Oh, it isn't the place?'  'No, no; it's a painting in oil,
done with a brush on a piece of canvas--don't you see--, made to look
like the view over there from the rock, colors and all.'  ' Yes, I
thought, perhaps--you can see a good ways in it.  It's pooty.'  'There's
another one,' I said--'falls, water coming down, and trees.'  'Well,
I declare, so it is!  And that's jest a make-believe?  I s'pose I can go
round and look?'  'Certainly.'  And the old fellow tiptoed round the
parlor, peering at all the pictures in a confused state of mind, and with
a guilty look of enjoyment.  It seems incredible that a person should
attain his age with such freshness of mind.  But I think he is the only
one of the party who even looked at the paintings."

"I think it's just pathetic," said Miss Lamont.  "Don't you, Mr. Forbes?"

"No; I think it's encouraging.  It's a sign of an art appreciation in
this country.  That man will know a painting next time he sees one, and
then he won't rest till he has bought a chromo, and so he will go on."

"And if he lives long enough, he will buy one of Mr. Forbes's paintings."

"But not the one that Miss Lamont is going to sit for."

When Mr. King met the party at the dinner-table, the places of Miss
Lamont and Mr. Forbes were still vacant.  The other ladies looked
significantly at them, and one of them said, "Don't you think there's
something in it?  don't you think they are interested in each other?"
Mr. King put down his soup-spoon, too much amazed to reply.  Do women
never think of anything but mating people who happen to be thrown
together?  Here were this young lady and his friend, who had known each
other for three days, perhaps, in the most casual way, and her friends
had her already as good as married to him and off on a wedding journey.
All that Mr. King said, after apparent deep cogitation, was, "I suppose
if it were here it would have to be in a traveling-dress," which the
women thought frivolous.

Yet it was undeniable that the artist and Marion had a common taste for
hunting out picturesque places in the wood-paths, among the rocks, and on
the edges of precipices, and they dragged the rest of the party many a
mile through wildernesses of beauty.  Sketching was the object of all
these expeditions, but it always happened--there seemed a fatality in it
that whenever they halted anywhere for a rest or a view, the Lamont girl
was sure to take an artistic pose, which the artist couldn't resist, and
his whole occupation seemed to be drawing her, with the Catskills for a
background.  "There," he would say, "stay just as you are; yes, leaning a
little so"--it was wonderful how the lithe figure adapted itself to any
background--" and turn your head this way, looking at me."  The artist
began to draw, and every time he gave a quick glance upwards from his
book, there were the wistful face and those eyes.  "Confound it!  I beg
your pardon-the light.  Will you please turn your eyes a little off, that
way-so."  There was no reason why the artist should be nervous, the face
was perfectly demure; but the fact is that art will have only one
mistress.  So the drawing limped on from day to day, and the excursions
became a matter of course.  Sometimes the party drove, extending their
explorations miles among the hills, exhilarated by the sparkling air,
excited by the succession of lovely changing prospects, bestowing their
compassion upon the summer boarders in the smartly painted boarding-
houses, and comparing the other big hotels with their own.  They couldn't
help looking down on the summer boarders, any more than cottagers at
other places can help a feeling of superiority to people in hotels.
It is a natural desire to make an aristocratic line somewhere.  Of course
they saw the Kaaterskill Falls, and bought twenty-five cents' worth of
water to pour over them, and they came very near seeing the Haines Falls,
but were a little too late.

"Have the falls been taken in today?" asked Marion, seriously.

"I'm real sorry, miss," said the proprietor, "but there's just been a

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